Marketing of Silver Bullets

My morning news shot brings me product marketing for Fast Search & Transfer ASA’s “Adaptive Information Warehouse”. They allege that the product “… improves on the benefits of traditional data warehouses while cutting down on implementation time, cost and complexity“.

Maybe it does, but based on the corporate news release on which this article is apparantly based, it is difficult to see why. Here are some quotes, followed by my own comments.

“The Data Cleansing Solution tool allows customers to create a single master index of corporate data, regardless of where it is located: databases, business applications, content management systems, CRM software, intranets and the like”

How does it know which data is good and which is bad? Is JS Smith the same as John Smith? How does it know how often and what to read? How does it know what history to preserve?

Setting up an AIW system will take significantly less time than building a data warehouse, cost less and provide more agile access to corporate data, Sutija said. An AIW system can be set up in eight to 10 weeks, while a data warehouse can take 18 months or longer, he said.

On the other hand, a data warehouse might take TEN YEARS to set up! On the other other-hand, it might be set up by comptent practitioners in a bus architecture that will deliver results very much faster. Eight-Ten weeks versus 18 months … which of those numbers do you think represents best-case scenario and which represents worst case? Hmmm.

…AIW indexes data that is much more granular than is usually available in a data warehouse, where data is usually consolidated into weekly or monthly results, he added

On the other hand, the data warehouse might be set up competently to preserve the granularity of the system of record, as is recognised best practice.

Fast may have an easier time convincing fast-growing, medium-size companies that haven’t yet invested in data warehouses, Creese added, because the cost and complexity of building a data warehouse are well known.

Or because they are more prone to the spread of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt, and have no in-house expertise to filter the reality from the marketing?

I wonder if they have a technology for simplifying the repackaging of corporate press releases into “news articles” as well?

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7 thoughts on “Marketing of Silver Bullets

  1. And what exactly is the cost and complexity of building a data warehouse are well known?
    To be honest, getting it done properly should not be expensive and is not complex either. You just need to hire the right people :-) to advise on how it is done. Buy good hardware with decent IO and you are more than half way there

    Now the cost of query tools is another matter!

  2. What baffles me is the claim “Data Cleansing Solution tool allows customers to create a single master index of corporate data, regardless of where it is located”…

    What on Earth has data cleansing got to do with “creating a master index of corporate data”? I mean, it is NOT the tool for that, surely! Although of course it’s easier to build such if the data is “clean”. But then again, doesn’t ANY data cleansing mechanism do so? What sets this one apart?

    An appaling job of marketing newspeak, really.
    And what is more scary is I’m sure a lot of damagers will fall for this sort of thing…

  3. It depends on the style book you are using. A quick google and I saw things like http://www2.ncsu.edu:8010/ncsu/grammar/Adject3.html and some UK peer-reviewed journal says “In general spell out numbers under 100; but use numerals for measurements (e.g. 12 km) and ages (e.g. 10 years old). Insert a comma for both thousands and tens of thousands (e.g. 1,000 and 20,000). Always use the minimum number of figures for ranged numbers and dates, e.g. 22-4 105-6, 166-7; but use 112-13 m 1914-18, etc. for ‘teen numbers. Use the percentage sign only in figures and tables; spell out ‘per cent’ in the text using a numerical number (e.g. 84 per cent).”

    I wouldn’t even care, except in the last two months I’ve had about 6 checks take the wrong amount of money out of my account. I’ll gladly admit I have crappy handwriting, but on all of those you can clearly see the proper numbers both written in arabic numerals and spelled out, not to mention the same amount on the invoices. I’ve come to the conclusion they must now be using some number-reading software that doesn’t have even my horrible visual acuity. The one that really tweaked me was where I had written ninety-something dollars and it read it as seventy-something dollars, thereby charging me $35 for being late with the full mortgage payment… so of course I have to lose even more than that from my billable hours trying to correct it…

  4. Speaking of Silver Bullets

    Greenplum Database is simply the industry’s fastest and most affordable high-end data warehousing solution. With Greenplum Database, users will have the power to answer complex questions, running analyses that used to take days with traditional solutions, in literally just seconds.

    http://www.greenplum.com/products/GreenplumDatabase.php

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